Last Year Was Last YearSeptember 6th, 2012
When Carolina coach Ron Rivera had his conference call with the Tampa Bay pen and mic club yesterday, Joe wondered exactly what Rivera thought of the Bucs defense.
Last year, the Panthers ravaged the Bucs defense, racking up 86 points and 818 total yards in two games. So Joe asked Rivera, based on last year’s results, whether there was an element of the Bucs defense that concerned him. Rivera launched into a passionate defense of the Bucs defense, all but believing last season was just an ugly hiccup for Tampa Bay.
“First [of] all, coach Schiano is going to bring in a scheme that he had success in whether it was at the University of Miami or at Rutgers. They have some playmakers. Their back seven is a pretty solid group. I think moving Ronde to safety is a heck of a move. Then at the corners you have [Aqib] Talib and Eric Wright out there and Mark Barron is a guy that we really liked. I think it is a good young core group of guys. I think the world of Mason Foster and what he is as a young man. Then you look at that front four, it’s a solid group.
“People tend to forget this was a team that was 10-6 two years ago. This team has had some success. It’s not like these guys are not capable of success. People have to understand that. This Bucs team is not far away. This team can have a resurgence very, very quickly. I don’t take this team lightly. We don’t take this team lightly.”
Rivera has a point, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that had the Bucs been a capable defense last year, a rookie quarterback without an offseason and only scant weeks of preseason wouldn’t have lit the team up like a bonfire.
There’s also a reason the Bucs drafted two defensive players with their first three picks in last spring’s draft.
Of course, Sunday will reveal how much the gap between the powerful Panthers offense and the rebuilt Bucs defense has narrowed.